A Walkway along a little Brook
  • Adolph von Menzel
  • Breslau 1815 - 1905 Berlin
  • A Walkway along a little Brook, 1889
  • Carpenter’s pencil, partly smeared, on strong paper
  • monogrammed and dated on the lower left: A. M. / 89
  • 184 × 117 mm
Private collection, Germany

Although the architecture in this scene comes only partially into the viewer’s field of vision, the capped baroque church gable on the left side suggests a south German environment rather than the artist’s usual surroundings in Berlin. Menzel left the Prussian capital only once for a long journey in 1889, namely to revisit the spa at his beloved Kissingen in Bavaria (compare cat. no. 68). This view has not been identified there yet, however.

The peculiarly narrowed visual field that Menzel chose for the drawing on this sheet is, on the other hand, both interesting and typical for the artist. None of the striking buildings in the background are truly visible; only a shallow little stream and walkway to the left lead the viewer’s gaze to a garden alongside a square between the houses.

The square is dominated by a tree with a mighty crown, which occupies the right side of the image. The view, apparently so casual, gains suspense primarily through the oblique angle at which both the road and the creek cut through the sheet. Yet both the tree and the church gable balance out this obliqueness. By rubbing the sheet with his fingers, Menzel created further painterly effects and a sense of depth on this drawing’s small surface.

Dr. Claude Keisch has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this drawing.